Screeching Halt

Pt. IV

we moved into our house two days after christmas in 1999. we'd closed on it while we were on our honeymoon. it was a nice honeymoon.

the first time i met my next-door neighbors, i had been out shopping and it was very cold and wet. i returned to the house to discover my husband out back talking to people i'd never seen before, along with my cousin, M and his wife, T and daughter (who lived nearby). there were a bunch of young boys running around my backyard.

when i approached the scene, Connie came over to me and proceeded to make me not like her a whole lot.
  • she introduced herself as my neighbor and pointed out her two boys and some other neighbor kid who were busy running amuck in my yard.
  • she started off saying that i looked young, and she'd mistaken M and T as the new neighbors.
  • she told me how upset her family was that the neighbors had had to move, since they had kids the same age as hers.
  • she asked me, "So what does your husband do for a living?" without a thought, and BEFORE asking me what i might do for a living.
  • she asked if we had kids. when i said no, she asked if we were planning to. and before i had time to get over thinking THAT was a rather personal question, she explained to me that her 12-year-old, Brittany, is really interested in babysitting. hint, hint.
  • she finished her visit by half-asking me, half-telling me IN FRONT OF HER BOYS, that she hopes it will be okay with me if her boys continue to be allowed to play in my yard, since it runs right into HER hard and that gives them a lot more room to play and that's what they're used to.

i agreed, and when she left and my cousins and i returned to the house, T looked at me and said, "that was so rude of her. now you can never walk around naked in your livingroom since you'll never know when those kids might run on by." and while i had never planned on walking around naked in my livingroom, i understood her point.

* * * * *

by october of 2000, i made a decision: i did not want to be a business person. i was good at my job, but it wasn't my passion. the hours were long, the commute was painful, and i wasn't making enough money to justify it, really. so i cut back my hours and started working from home. i determined that i was -- forevermore -- going to spend my time making our house a home. learning to cook. training our puppy. FINALLY writing my book. oh, and getting pregnant.

[alright, so, here it is: you're welcome to jump ship right now if you want to because i have no idea how the rest of the story or installments or memories are going to come out. i don't know what this will feel like or how it'll go. but in the movie of my life, george is about to meet clarance (if you know what i mean) and there won't be any finding of zuzu's petals for a long time.]


my mom, having heard of this plan, offered to come down to my house (from where she and my father had moved to in new hampshire) for a couple weeks to help. i happily accepted. my mom and i had had our differences -- oh, how mothers and daughters can feud -- but they'd long been resolved for the most part. as much as they ever would be.

for two weeks we pulled up carpet, hung drapes, and painted almost every room in the house. the results were quite lovely.

on halloween, we decorated the entranceway with cobwebs and spooky music and gave away too much candy to the neighborhood kids. kids who called me "Mrs." because they didn't know i was only a pretend grown-up. i remember a couple girls coming to the door and looking in at my freshly painted and re-decorated livingroom and saying, "wow, your house is really pretty." and i stood there, proud as could be, having my recent life's work validated by nine year olds.

* * * * * * *

the last thing i remember about my mom's trip that year was that she went back to new hampshire right after it was determined that we, as a country, had no idea who was lawfully the president of the united states.

and also, that we had agreed that christmas would be at our house. no, it wasn't that convenient, proximity-wise, for the rest of the family, but the house was in much greater working order than my parents'. and also it was near to where my very ill grandfather lived. and it would be so less a burden on my parents -- my mom could finally just enjoy the holiday without having to worry about things like clean sheets for the masses.

passing the Christmas House torch to me was not easy for my mom, and it made her feel old and useless. at least, that's what i learned from her over email in the following weeks. but i explained that that's not at all how i felt, and that i would never be able to pull it off without her help anyway.

and once we cleared the air, we set about painstakingly planning christmas.

* * * * * *

you know, my mother was a prolific emailer. she'd sip her morning coffee while dashing off seemingly endless streams-of-consciousness that i often found difficult to wade through. they were funny and a little bit crazy, but sometimes it was hard to know exactly what she was trying to say. and so even though they were peppered with pearls of wit and wisdom, i found them kind of annoying.

i loved that i had a mom who was hip enough to start emails with "yo, yo, whazzup!" and end with the words "heart M" (since she couldn't draw a little heart as she did on notes to us around the house). but still, they were long and i'd delete them. because i didn't know.

as thanksgiving approached, the emails became longer and more detailed. we discussed who was arriving when, menus, shopping lists, decorating ideas, pet arrangements, cd mixes.

but after we spent thanksgiving in new hampshire at my parents' house, the emails started getting shorter.

and then they stopped.


  1. This is lovely & amazing, kristy :)

  2. I'm going to cry, literally. Just as you don't know how this will affect you to write, I'm not sure how this will affect me to read. But by all means, lets find out.

  3. i wonder if this means as much to the other kids in class as it does to the ones with sick moms, and moms that have passed.

  4. K - these are great posts. Did you already have all this written somewhere and are just sharing it now? Just asking because it must take a lot of time to write these and you are posting so frequently.

  5. thanks for asking, da.

    no, i'm just writing these now. they do take a while, but it's funny -- like with the stepford posts -- this is the stuff that's been hanging out in my head for SO long, it just comes out. it's easier (well, not emotionally) to write this stuff than posts intended to be humorous.

    and thanks for reading, too. it is very strange to be sharing this, but also liberating.

  6. I've done the same things with e-mails from my Mom. I think I'll stop now.

  7. K - have you noticed that all the neg posters are gone? I myself am a reformed neg poster. K finally asked me to email her and after trading one email each I had a much better understanding and have since been a supporter. Not sure what my point is, K feel free to delete ;)

  8. As I told you the other day, fascinating.

  9. Reminds me of some proverb I heard somewhere: "be careful what you wish for, you might get it."

  10. I just want to say that I haven't been commenting on these posts (unlike my usual rambling) because I'm "emotionally retarded" as my ex's liked to point out. I have to admit, I prefer to stick to one-liners and stay detached. However, I am very moved by these posts and I actually have to plan on when I feel safe enough to read them. (umm. like now at 1:50 a.m.) I just don't know how to say anything appropriate or meaningful but I am reading and feeling. These read like a good novel in the works. Ok, that's all I have to say until we're back to boxed wine or breazy elegance. (but I'm still here)

  11. K, I don't even know you except through your blog and your comments on Whinger's, and yet these are very powerful posts.
    I hope they are helpful for you to write, I am very much enjoying (that doesn't seem like the right word) reading them.
    You're such an excellent writer.

  12. k-I've been a faithful lurker, sometimes commenter for quite some time. Its writing like this that just brings me back again and again. Sure, you're funny as hell when you want to be, but you're also very deep, and complex, and hurt, and courageous. I like you so very much. That's what keeps me coming back.

  13. K- I feel like this post leaves me hanging. I know I've read the stepford posts back in the day, but this one doesn't seam to be as... well its hard to say. From what I remember from the Stepford posts it seemed as though you were explaining why you have issues with your wieght and what irked you about growing up where you did and not getting along with you mom.

    Maybe its me, but it seems as though your writing in this post and the few before it Parts I, II, and III are a bit more of a release than an explanation.

    I keep coming back because I feel like you're writing a book and each day is a little chapter. I have to start my day with a trip to your blog.

    I don't mean to sound like your blog is purely entertainment, if thats how it sounds. It seems as though you are the kind of person I wish I could be. The woman who sets out to clean out her closets and though it takes days (even weeks) to complete the project, you do complete it. And the most recent posts make me feel like instead of blaming people for what they have done to me in the past to make me who I am today, I should be forgiving them and moving on.

    Anyway, I'm babeling.

  14. You said:
    "(since she couldn't draw a little heart as she did on notes to us around the house)"

    Yes you can. It's this:


    It's now one of those inside lovey things we do in our family that would make the rest of you sick. My bfriend says to me lots: "I less than 3 you baby"

    I took your babbling anne, and kicked it up a notch....

  15. Hi there..its my first time here..I saw you on Random Musings blogroll. Ive been reading for awhile and I just wanted to say that I admire you for putting this all down. I think it blog is helping me ( does when I dont use it for stupid stuff)

    My mom died from cancer so you blog is bringing a lot of it back for me.


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